Germany is a land of many fairy tales and Rammstein. But it also has a surprisingly modern edge. And while it is not the most popular destination for many, this magical destination is sure to be on your bucket list. Forget the corny vision you have before you of lederhosen, grumpy people, and dreary weather. The history of fairy tales combined with the Burgundian culture make the fairy tale route a must-see. You will experience both the old and the new in the Germany we experienced, and you will not be disappointed. Follow us on this magical adventure!

Hamelin: the city of the Pied Piper

From Brussels, we headed towards Hamelin. On the way, we made our first stop at Topgolf Oberhausen. And here, we did not miss the ball. A perfect break from sitting in the car. For those who don’t know the concept, be sure to read our piece on Topgolf and why we think it’s so great.

Then on to our first stop: a fairytale village that you reach after an hour-long drive through “nowhere.” Known for the man with his flute. First impressions when driving in very charming. And quiet. In the end, that appears to be the general trend among the villages we visit during the tour. The Fairy Tale Route is not touristy. You can take a pleasant walk through the town by following the bronze rats. Incorporated into the ground are these shiny husks, and in a reasonable hour, you’ve trekked past all the sights. Just enough to finish off with a refreshing beer on one of the many terraces.

We stayed overnight in a rather unique hotel, “Hotel Altstadtwiege.” A very authentic inn, completely decorated with the rat theme. Plus, it is very charming, the perfect location to explore further on foot, and has good parking at the hotel. Minuses: Our room was decorated with beautiful glass windows, so there was no direct sunlight. The bathroom did have a window to “outside” (read: crowded courtyard). Considering this was only an overnight stay, this did not bother us, and the positives of the hotel outweighed the negatives. Still a must in our eyes, but keep in mind that you have to go outside to feel the sun’s rays.

Hamelin Germany
Hameln Germany

Bremen: the city of Bremen City Musicians

Next, on to Bremen. This is a city in northwestern Germany. The city is known for its story of city musicians, who are said to be able to bring joy and happiness to those who hear them play. Furthermore, its spacious squares are filled with large religious buildings, 500-year-old houses, and charming streets.

On the way, stop by Bad Oeyenhausen, home to the fairy tale museum, said to be one of the world’s most essential fairy tale places. The museum itself houses a modest collection of viewing boxes, paintings, and other knickknacks on the theme of fairy tales. Personally, I found it disappointing. Had expected more and didn’t think it was worth the detour.

Buxtehude is another town in northwest Germany that calls itself (wrongly, in my opinion) the fairy tale capital. The town is small, tiny. “Picturesque,” as one should nicely put it. A giant shopping center on the outskirts and some charming fairytale houses in the middle. But nothing compared to Hamelin. So I would delete this one as well.

Overnight on the road in the “Frommanns Landhotel” (& Privatbrauerei). You read it right: brewery! Good location with neat rooms, and breakfast was also manageable. If you like to spot cars, you might also have a good time here. The owner is clearly a car freak, and the rooms have brand-related themes. On top of that, the location is also endorsed by a car club. Fairy tales are just as far away; it’s all about horsepower here.

Berlin: surprising metropolis

After two days of full-throttle fairy tales and magic, it’s time for a change of scenery: Berlin. In Berlin, everyone spontaneously thinks of the images of the demolition of the Berlin Wall or the punk and party scene for which this city is known. I myself, however, was pleasantly surprised. Surprisingly beautiful Berlin – who would have thought? This historic city is full of beautiful buildings, a pleasant atmosphere, clean streets, and fairy parks. There are many sights, and as you walk, you come across one after another, and you constantly have to pull out your guidebook because you wonder, “What is this now, honor.”

That Berlin is a city with a long, controversial history is reflected in its architecture, museums, and palpable culture. The town has many historic buildings, iconic sites, and challenging museums. So it is an enjoyable city to visit; there really is plenty to see and do. And it’s big! It’s worth exploring all the different neighborhoods and discovering the hidden gems that make this city so unique. Our tip: charge your smartphone and take an electric scooter in between to conquer the long avenues blister-free.

Berliner Funkturm - Berlin Radiotower
Brandenburg Berlin
Berlijn 1
Victory Column Berlin

Palace of Tears Berlin
Palace of Tears Berlin

Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall

We spent only two days here, which wasn’t enough. But the vibe we felt definitely invites us to return again in the near future. About our hotel, we are a little less lyrical. What is described as a charming, old building actually turns out to be an upgraded hostel. With a relatively good breakfast, though. the Price quality was all right, and the location was also worth it if you like spending the night among the Louis Vuitton handbags and Gucci coats. But for a big city like Berlin, the check-in was quite tricky as the woman at the desk only spoke German, a pity for a city with a worldly allure that the language knowledge of even the tourist industry is limited. (Which was true everywhere in Germany, by the way). So be it; you can perhaps decide whether you find Hotel Castell am Kurf├╝rstendam worth its money.

Kassel: home of Rapunzel’s tower

Full of energy from Bustling Berlin, planned a drive of almost 6h: to Kassel. On the way, we paused briefly in Oedelheim, as this was supposed to be the village of Puss in Boots (kittens always do well!). Unfortunately, this pride was limited to a cat carved out of wood in a gravel-covered parking lot. Bummer! You can also admire Rapunzel’s tower along the way. You have to do some searching because nowhere in Trendelheim is a prince yelling at a tuft of hair.

Hop hop hop to the great Kassel, then. First impressions: here is something to do. The squares were crowded with hipsters and a small demonstration here and there. We then limited ourselves to the must-see of the fairy tale route: Grimm Welt. And wow, this overall experience is so worth it. A small insight into the life of the Brothers Grimm, complemented by audiovisual surprises throughout the exhibition.

We spend the night in the EE hotel. BLESSING! Great professional reception, spacious, clean rooms with an inviting bed. And the breakfast buffet was not inferior to a classic brunch at local, trendy food bars. Stuffed for our last stop!

On the way to Hessisch Lichtenau, where the Mother Hulda Park is on display. Supposedly one of the oldest and least known fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. I only remember something about down feathers and a pillow.

After a short walk (because you have to follow the down feathers to admire the tiny village’s authentic buildings) through Rotenburg an der Fulda. Travel books describe this location as a beautiful, picturesque, historic town. True. However, when I googled for a moment, I also came across news reports of the internet sex cannibal caught in 2022. So reasons enough to visit this little village.

Then a quick visit to other rascals: the 7 dwarfs. You can find them in the enchanting Bergfreiheit. Better known as the village of Snow White. Since she is no longer among us, there just isn’t much to do there either. There is a “House of Snow White” sign on a hill among inhabited houses. But she was not at home like everyone else in the village.

Marburg: where Sleeping Beauty was awakened with a kiss

We ended this day, and also our trip, in Marburg. A beautiful medieval village topped with churches and authentic houses. Our hostel for the night: Hostaria del Castello, which is also an Italian restaurant at the same time. Plus: they speak not only German here but Italian as well. Top-notch, in other words. When they say “authentic,” we already know by now that it means “outdated,” and in a historic location means “in the middle of a traffic-free historic center.” But nice once in a while.

Marburg itself is well worth a stop on the fairy tale route, and for the first time, we saw crowds of people. A beautiful route runs through the town entirely dedicated to the Brothers Grimm, where you will find references to their fairy tales. Considering the streets run up a hill and are paved with classic cobblestones, this is still a pretty tough walk. So wear that sports watch!

All in all, a nice ending to our version of the fairy tale route.

On the way home, we stopped by Vogelsang IP. A former nazi complex converted into a meeting place. We were not really impressed, probably because the message of peace suppresses the historical value, which (understandably so) they want to push so hard at this location. A lovely location, though, as a stop on your walks in Eifel.

Fairy tale route in Germany: fabulous fatum in undiscovered splendor?

This round trip was decided relatively last minute and was actually really worth it. The authenticity of many villages cannot be compared to other, more touristy destinations in, say, France. However, the Fairy Tales themselves are sometimes far away and require a lot of imagination from visitors. So Disney has marketed this for a reason, one would think.

The stopover in Berlin was also a perfect choice to save ourselves from an overdose of German charm. It was gratifying to spend some time in an “inhabited, modern” world only to immerse ourselves again in storytelling.

The most significant advantage, and at the same time disadvantage, is that it was tranquil everywhere. The Fairy Tale Route has not been promoted at all to foreign tourists. As a result, in many places, they are also totally unresponsive to this. Presumably, this contributes to preserving its individuality and charm. On the other hand, perhaps a missed opportunity for Germany?

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